Ocracoke's Latest Attraction

Press Release

The mystery of the fence is solved!

Ocracoke's Latest Attraction

Get ready for the Nutty Nutria Russian Rattery Petting Zoo! 

Oh, the coconut telegraph has been buzzing about the newly-erected chainlink fence on Windmill Point. 

The Ocracoke Current decided to stop speculating and go straight to the source: the owner of the property, Mrs. Silvia Myocastor, formerly of Boca Raton, FL, a woman so enthralled with the island's rascally rodents that she's creating a soundside habitat enclosure for the buck-toothed beauties. 

She's such a proud promoter of nutty nutria that her enthusiasm is rubbing off on Ocracoke residents. In some parts farther south, nutria are raised for meat or fur, and one Ocracoke outfit had a nutria milking operation until the USDA put them out of business. But no one has really appreciated the nutria's appeal to the visiting public until Mrs. Myocastor came along. 

"I just love them," she said. 

The Petting Zoo will open in May. Hours of operation are 9am-2pm daily; children are admitted free; adults are $15. Pick a nutria to feed (they eat grass), pet it, brush it, watch it swim! 

Ocracoke's Latest Attraction

Merchandise will be available for purchase including tee shirts, buttons, decals, and fake nutria teeth of your own. 

The nutria's big, orange teeth have gotten the notice of others in town who are thinking about Ocracoke's future. 

"We're thinking about adding a nutria to the new island logo during this phase of the branding initiative for the new version of OCBA," said Ocracioke Civic & Business Association president Rob Orr. "Ponies, dolphins, sunsets, shorebirds – they're all overused. But no other beach town has those orange choppers in their ads, so we'd really stand out. You can't miss them."

Nutria aren't native to Ocracoke, but they started taking over property on the NC coast in the 1930s and 40s. They are considered invasive, but necessary; ugly, but cute; troublesome, but tolerable. They destroy wetlands and will live just about anywhere with a water view. They were brought here on purpose and overstayed their welcome. Their presence can leave lasting damage. They're out at all hours of the day or night. If they're bothering you on your property, you can shoot 'em. You can also trap 'em and make some money.

In the summer, they like to gather in large groups headed up by a big mama and sunbathe, groom, and eat. They don't completely take over Ocracoke though because they just can't handle the harsh, windy winter and a lot of them, well, they... move on. 

What better critter to represent Ocracoke's ambivalent relationship with dingbatters? 

Does Ocracoke School need a mascot change to coincide with the building of the new school? Dolphins are so 20th century. And they rarely inspire fear. 

"I guess we could consider a nutria," said principal Leslie Cole. "They are kinda scary looking, and they run and swim fast. We could be the Rushin' Rats!"

Ocracoke Nutria: We Chomp and Stomp! 


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